He now works for Microsoft, writing error messages.
The move comes as the result of numerous focus groups and customer surveys done by Microsoft. Thousands of Microsoft customers were asked, "What do you spend the most time doing on your computer?"
A surprising number of respondents said, "Staring at a Blue Screen of Death." At 54 percent, it was the top answer, beating the second place answer "Downloading XXXScans" by an easy 12 points.
"We immediately recognized this as a great opportunity for ourselves, our channel partners, and especially our customers," explained the excited Ballmer to a room full of reporters.
Immense video displays were used to show images of the new customizable BSOD screen side-by-side with the older static version. Users can select from a collection of "BSOD Themes," allowing them to instead have a Mauve Screen of Death or even a Paisley Screen of Death. Graphics and multimedia content can now be incorporated into the screen, making the BSOD the perfect conduit for delivering product information and entertainment to Windows users.
The BSOD is by far the most recognized
feature of the Windows operating system, and as a result, Microsoft has
historically insisted on total control over its look and feel. This recent
departure from that policy reflects Microsoft's recognition of the Windows desktop itself as the "ultimate information portal." By default, the new BSOD will be configured to show a random selection of Microsoft product information whenever the system crashes. Microsoft channel partners can negotiate with Microsoft for the right to customize the BSOD on systems they ship.
Major computer resellers such as Compaq, Gateway, and Dell are already lining up for premier placement on the new and improved BSOD.
Ballmer concluded by getting a dig in against the Open Source community. "This just goes to show that Microsoft continues to innovate at a much faster pace than open source. I have yet to see any evidence that GNU/Linux even has a BSOD, let alone a customizable one."
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Symantec's AntiVirus Research Center today confirmed that foot-and-mouth disease cannot be spread by Microsoft's Outlook email application, believed to be the first time the program has ever failed to propagate a major virus.
"Frankly, we've never heard of a virus that couldn't spread through Microsoft Outlook, so our findings were, to say the least, unexpected," said Clive Sarnow, director of the CDC's infectious disease unit.
The study was immediately hailed by British officials, who said it will save millions of pounds and thousands of man hours. "Up until now we have, quite naturally, assumed that both foot-and-mouth and mad cow were spread by Microsoft Outlook," said Nick Brown, Britain's Agriculture Minister. "By eliminating it, we can focus our resources elsewhere."
However, researchers in the Netherlands, where foot-and-mouth has recently appeared, said they are not yet prepared to disqualify Outlook, which has been the progenitor of viruses such as "I Love You," "Bubbleboy," "Anna Kournikova," and "Naked Wife," to name but a few.
Said Nils Overmars, director of the Molecular Virology Lab at Leiden University: "It's not that we don't trust the research, it's just that as scientists, we are trained to be skeptical of any finding that flies in the face of established truth. And this one flies in the face like a blind drunk sparrow."
Executives at Microsoft, meanwhile, were equally skeptical, insisting that Outlook's patented Virus Transfer Protocol (VTP) has proven virtually pervious to any virus. The company, however, will issue a free VTP patch if it turns out the application is not vulnerable to foot-and-mouth.
Such an admission would be embarrassing for the software giant, but Symantec virologist Ariel Kologne insisted that no one is more humiliated by the study than she is. "Only last week, I had a reporter ask if the foot-and-mouth virus spreads through Microsoft Outlook, and I told him, 'Doesn't everything?'" she recalled. "Who would've thought?"
1.GPF key--This key
will instantly generate a General Protection Fault when pressed. Microsoft
representatives state that the purpose of the GPF key is to save Windows
users time by eliminating the need to run an application in order to produce
a General Protection Fault.
2.$$ key--When this key is pressed, money is transferred automatically from your bank account to Microsoft without the need for further action or third party intervention.
3.ZD key--This key was developed specifically for reviewers of Microsoft products. When pressed it inserts random superlative adjectives in any text which contains the words Microsoft or Windows within the file being edited.
4.MS key--This key runs a Microsoft commercial entitled "Computing for Mindless Drones" in a 1" x 1" window.
5.FUD key--Self explanatory.
6.Chicago key--Generates do-nothing loops for months at a time.
7.IBM key--Searches your hard disk for operating systems or applications by vendors other than Microsoft and deletes them.
- "Not you again," I said.
- "Sorry," he said, a little sheepishly. "I guess you know why I'm here."
Indeed I did. Microsoft's $300 million campaign to promote the Windows 95 operating system was meant to be universally effective, to convince every human being on the planet that Windows 95 was an essential, some would say integral, part of living. Problem was, not everyone had bought it. Specifically, I hadn't bought it.
I was the Last Human Being Without Windows 95.
And now this little man from Microsoft was at my door, and he wouldn't take no for an answer.
- "No," I said.
- "You know I can't take that," he said, pulling out a copy of Windows95 from a briefcase. "Come on. Just one copy. That's all we ask."
- "Not interested." I said. "Look, isn't there someone else you can go bother for a while? There's got to be someone else on the planet who doesn't have a copy."
- "Well, no," The Microsoft man said. "You're the only one."
- "You can't be serious. Not everyone on the planet has a computer," I said. "Hell, not everyone on the planet has a PC! Some people own Macintoshes, which run their own operating system. And some people who have PCs run OS/2, though I hear that's just a rumor. In short, there are some people who just have no use for Windows 95."
The Microsoft man look perplexed. "I'm missing your point," he said.
- "Use!" I screamed. "Use! Use! Use! Why
BUY it, if you can't USE it?"
- "Well, I don't know anything about this 'use' thing you're going on about," The Microsoft man said. "All I know is that according to our records, everyone else on the planet has a copy."
- "People without computers?"
- "Got 'em."
- "Amazonian Indians?"
- "We had to get some malaria shots to go in, but yes."
- "The Amish."
- "Oh, come on," I said. "They don't even wear BUTTONS. How did you get them to buy a computer operating system?"
- "We told them there were actually 95 very small windows in the box," the Microsoft man admitted. "We sort of lied. Which means we are all going to Hell, every single employee of Microsoft." He was somber for a minute, but then perked right up. "But that's not the point!" he said. "The point is, EVERYONE has a copy. Except you."
- "So what?" I said. "If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you expect me to do it, too?"
- "If we spent $300 million advertising it? Absolutely."
- "Jeez, back to that again," the Microsoft man said. "Hey. I'll tell you what. I'll GIVE you a copy. For free. Just take it and install it on your computer." He waved the box in front of me.
- "No," I said again. "No offense, pal. But I don't need it. And frankly, your whole advertising blitz has sort of offended me. I mean, it's a computer operating system! Great. Fine. Swell. Whatever. But you guys are advertising it like it creates world peace or something."
- "It did."
- "World peace. It was part of the original design. Really. One button access. Click on it, poof, end to strife and hunger. Simple."
- "So what happened?"
- "Well, you know," he said. "It took up a lot of space on the hard drive. We had to decide between it or the Microsoft Network. Anyway, we couldn't figure out how to make a profit off of world peace."
- "Go away," I said.
- "I can't," he said. "I'll be killed if I fail."
- "You have got to be kidding," I said.
- "Look," the Microsoft man said, "We sold this to the AMISH. The Amish! Right now, they're opening the boxes and figuring out they've been had. We'll be pitchforked if we ever step into Western Pennsylvania again. But we did it. So to have YOU holding out, well, it's embarassing. It's embarassing to the company. It's embarassing to the product. It's embarassing to BILL."
- "Bill Gates does not care about me," I said.
- "He's watching right now," the Microsoft man said. "Borrowed one of those military spy satellites just for the purpose. It's also got one of those high-powered lasers. You close that door on me, zap, I'm a pile of grey ash."
- "He wouldn't do that," I said, "He might hit that copy of Windows 95 by accident."
- "Oh, Bill's gotten pretty good with that laser," the Microsoft man said, nervously. "Okay. I wasn't supposed to do this, but you leave me no choice. If you take this copy of Windows 95, we will reward you handsomely. In fact, we'll give you your own Caribbean island! How does Montserrat sound?"
- "Terrible. There's an active volcano there."
- "It's only a small one," the Microsoft man said.
- "Look," I said, "even if you DID convince me to take that copy of Windows 95, what would you do then? You'd have totally saturated the market. That would be it. No new worlds to conquer. What would you do then?"
The Microsoft man held up another box and gave it to me.
- "'Windows 95....For Pets'?!?!?"
- "There's a LOT of domestic animals out there," he said.
I shut the door quickly. There was a surprised yelp, the sound of a laser, and then nothing.
And what do Baby Gates and Daddy's products have in common?
1. Neither can stand on its own two feet
without A LOT of third party support.
2. Both barf all over themselves regularly.
3. Regardless of the problem, calling Microsoft Tech Support won't help.
4. As they mature, we pray that they will be better than that which preceeded them.
5. At first release they're relatively compact, but they seem to grow and grow and grow with each passing year.
6. Although announced with great fanfare, pretty much anyone can produce one.
7. They arrive in shaky condition with inadequate documentation.
8. No matter what, it takes several months between the announcement and the actual release.
9. Bill gets the credit but someone else did most of the work.
10. For at least the next year, they'll suck.
(There is a simple flight simulator hidden in MS Excel.)
Although the official Air Force position is that this is their final report on the matter, long-time Microsoft devotees are not satisfied. "We know it really happened," said Gil Bates, spokesman for a group of Microsoft enthusiasts who call themselves "The .exe-files". The group's claim of having seen Windows run without crashing is tainted by the revelation earlier this year that some members had falsified evidence by doctoring output from standard Unix utilities and passing it off as authentic Windows data files.
Q. How many Microsoft employees does it
take to change a light bulb?
A. Four. One to change it, one to rewire the socket so that Netscape light bulbs won't work in it, one to rewrite Sun's light bulbs into something unrecognizable (and non-functional), and one to convince the justice department that all Microsoft light bulbs are conforming to anti-trust laws.
Q. How many MicroSoft vice presidents does
it take to change a light bulb?
A. Eight. One to work the bulb, and seven to make sure that MicroSoft gets $2 for every light bulb ever changed anywhere in the world.
Clinton immediately called his cabinet. "I have good news and bad news," he announced grimly. "The good news is that there is a god. The bad news is, God's really mad and plans to end the world in a week."
In Russia, Yeltsin announced to parliament,
"Comrades, I have bad news and worse news. The bad news is that we were
wrong: there is a god after all. The worse news is God's mad and is
going to end the world in a week."
Meanwhile, Bill Gates called a meeting
of his top engineers. "I have good news and better news. The good news
is that God considers me one of the three most influential men on Earth,"
beamed. "The better news is we don't have to fix the bugs in Windows 95."
32 bit extensions and a graphical shell
for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a
4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company, that can't stand 1 bit
Microsoft representatives held a briefing at the Oval Office with US President Bill Clinton, and assured members of the press that changes to US Government policy will be "minimal." The United States will be managed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. An initial public offering is planned for July 4 of next year, and the Federal Government is expected to be profitable by 1999, according to Microsoft president Steve Ballmer.
In a related announcement, President Bill Clinton stated that he had "willingly and enthusiastically" accepted a position as vice president of USA Operations with Microsoft, and will continue to manage the United States government, reporting directly to Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates. When asked how it felt to give up the mantle of executive authority, Clinton smiled and referred to it as "a relief." He went on to say that Gates has a "proven track record," and that US citizens should offer Gates their "full support and confidence."
In his new role at Microsoft, Clinton will reportedly be earning several times the $200,000 annually he currently earns as US president. Gates dismissed a rumor that the US Capitol be moved to Redmond as "silly," though he did say he would make executive decisions for the US government from his existing office at Microsoft headquarters.
Gates did say, however, that the US House and Senate would "of course" be abolished. "Microsoft isn't a democracy," Gates said, "yet look how well we're doing." When asked if the rumored attendant acquisition of Canada was proceeding, Gates would only say that Microsoft doesn't comment on unannounced products.
Microsoft representatives closed the conference by stating that United States citizens will be able to expect lower taxes, increases in government services, discounts on all Microsoft products, and the immediate arrest of all executive officials of Sun Microsystems Inc. and Netscape Corp.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers, and democratic government. The company offers a wide range of products and services for public, business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing and mostly free society every day.
About the United States
Founded in 1776, the United States of America is the most successful nation in the history of the world, and has been a beacon of democracy and opportunity for over 200 years. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the United States is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation.
"The United States of America" and "Microsoft" are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.
1.They replicate quickly -- okay, Windows
2.Viruses use up valuable system resources, slowing down the system as they do so -- okay, Windows does that.
3.Viruses will, from time to time, trash your hard disk -- okay, Windows does that, too.
4.Viruses are usually carried, unknown to the user, along with valuable programs and systems. Sigh... Windows does that, too.
5.Viruses will occasionally make the user suspect their system is too slow (see 2) and the user will buy new hardware. Yup, that's with Windows, too.
Until now it seems Windows is a virus but there are fundamental differences: Viruses are well supported by their authors, are running on most systems, their program code is fast, compact and efficient and they tend to become more sophisticated as they mature.
So, Windows is not a virus.
1. The radio would be computerized, but
you'd need to install 64 Meg of RAM, a new sound card, a game card, a new
video driver, a CD drive, and type C:\radio\talk\rush*.* to get it to play.
2. The entire engine wouldn't be in the bay at once, and the car would have to keep stopping and starting to load in the relevant parts.
3. The speedometer would read 70 even though you are only doing 50.
4. You would have to have a full service every 500 miles.
5. Your car would refuse to start with a message "Abort, Retry, Fail?"
6. For some reason the engine controller would need a 1G hard disc and would take 5 minutes to boot up.
7. The steering wheel would be replaced with a mouse and you'd need to memorize the keyboard short-cut for "Brake".
8. A particular model year of car wouldn't be available until after that year- instead of before it.
9. They wouldn't build their own engines but form a cartel with their engine supplier. The latest engine would have 16 cylinders, multi-point fuel injection and 4 turbos, but it would be a side-valve design so you could use Model-T Ford parts on it. There would be an "Engium Pro" with bigger turbos, but it would be slower on most existing roads.
10. The air bag system would say "Are you sure?" before going off.
11. New seats would require everyone to have the same butt size.
12. We would all have to switch to Microsoft Gas.
13. The U.S. government would be forced to rebuild all of the roads for Microsoft cars; they will drive on the old roads, but they run very slowly.
14. The oil, alternator, gas and engine warning lights would be replaced by a single 'General Car Fault' warning light.
15. Sun MotorSystems would make a car that was solar-powered, twice as reliable and five times as fast, but would run on only 5% of the roads.
16. You would be constantly pressured to upgrade your car.
17. You could have only one person in the car at a time, unless you bought a Car95 or CarNT -- but then you would have to buy ten more seats and a new engine.
18. Occasionally, your car would die for NO apparent reason and you would have to restart it. Strangely, you would just accept this as normal.
18b. Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail to restart and you'd have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you'd just accept this, too.
19. Every time the lines of the road were repainted, you would have to buy a new car.
20. People would get excited about the new features of the latest Microsoft cars, forgetting that these same features had been available from other car makers for years.
- Picard: "Mr. LaForge, have you had any
success with your attempts at finding a weakness in the Borg? And Mr. Data,
have you been able to access their command pathways?"
- Geordi: "Yes, Captain. In fact, we found the answer by searching through our archives on late Twentieth-century computing technology."
(Geordi presses a key, and a logo appears on the computer screen.)- Riker: (looks puzzled.) "What the hell is `Microsoft'?"
. . . 15 Minutes Later . . .- Data: "Captain, we have successfully installed the `Windows' in the Borg's command unit. As expected, it immediately consumed 85% of all available resources. However, we have not received any confirmation of the expected `upgrade'."